GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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October 8, 2013

Visitors eye town schools for accreditation

ROCKPORT — Rockport school officials, parents and students are welcoming officials with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges this week, as the visiting educators and administrators tour and consider whether town schools measure up to seven accreditation standards.

The 16-member accreditation team consists of a variety of past and present teachers and administrators, all of whom arrived for a reception on Sunday. Beginning Sunday and running through Wednesday, they are speaking with parents and teachers, following students through their schedules and using other means to assess the school district’s work.

NEASC committee members reached out to parents Sunday by asking them what the lines of communication are between parents, students and the school, what they believe a student’s grade reflects and what areas parents cite as concerns.

On Sept. 27, Phillip Conrad, principal of Rockport Middle School and Rockport High School made sure the lines of communication remain open. He sent out an email inviting parents to attend a meeting with the accreditation committee that was held Sunday, as well, prior to the NEASC reception.

Those seven standards to measure include the core values of the district, the curriculum, instructional methods, assessments of student learning, the school culture and leadership, the level of school resources and the community’s resources to support one of the smallest districts in the state.

During Sunday’s reception, local Parent Teacher Organization members treated the accreditation team with songs from the combined Rockport Middle and Rockport High School choruses, in addition to food and refreshments.

Both the chorus and NEASC members were met with applause during the introductions Sunday.

Conrad said the NEASC visit, which began Sunday and ends Wednesday, provides a good “self-reflection” time for the school.

“The staff and students have been working really hard to prepare for (the NEASC visit),” he said.

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